Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Meet the School Helpers... & Make a Class Book!

Hello, Everybody!

Do you take your students on a school tour on the first day of school? The great big school building with its turning halls can be so confusing to little ones ... and all those doors look pretty much alike! Whether your students are new to the building or returning after their break, they deserve a chance to get used to the place where they'll be spending their days.

There are lots of great ideas on Pinterest and blogs for making the school tour fun. Here's a way that you can turn this fun experience into some ongoing literacy learning! In addition to meeting school helpers, your students will engage in shared writing, practice reading and writing six early sight words, and have a class book for the classroom library that will continue to build their fluency as they reread it throughout the school year!

As you take your tour, bring along your camera.  If you plan your route ahead of time, you can write a list of the school personnel you want your students to meet, in the order you expect to see them. Put the list on a clipboard with a marker and give them to a student to carry.

Then, as you meet and introduce the staff member who's next on your list, the next 2 children in line will come up and have their picture taken with the adult (group picture). The clipboard carrier finds the name on the list and checks it off. The two students move to the end of the line, and the tour continues.

Of course, you'll want to have enough photos planned to include all of the children. But just think of all the school helpers they'll get to meet:  principal, office staff, special area teachers, speech and occupational therapists, cafeteria workers, custodians, classroom aides, etc. Your students will be feeling more confident and right at home... and even more so each time they reread the book!

Here's a cover and template you might want to use to make the project simpler.

Here are some further suggestions:

* Complete only one or two writing templates at a session to keep attention and interest high.

* Before you begin each shared writing session, reread the previous pages.

* Scaffold the experience for beginners or strugglers by displaying the included word cards nearby.
   Students can find the needed words to help them write, if necessary. "The" and "This" are the only  
   two visually similar words in this set -  a great opportunity to practice looking beyond the first 

* After the book is completed and has been reread several times, use the word cards as a pocket chart activity , building sentences from the book.  Here's a very cool tutorial for printing sentences on sentence strips .

* To put your photo with the writing:  Mount both photo and writing on a larger piece of construction paper, and laminate. Use the same size mounting paper for your cover.  Or save yourself some work and print each picture on the back of a template page. As you turn to a new page spread, the photo will be on the left and the writing will be on the right. This takes a bit of planning, but will save you time, ink, and paper.

I think you'll find that this project was harder for me to explain than it will be for you to complete! Have a great time with it!

Happy Teachng!


  1. Hi Linda,
    I love your idea! I'll have to try it out with my kiddos. I’m having my big 100 follower giveaway! I’d love it if you wanted to come on over for a visit sometime. Thanks!
    Your Follower,
    Corinna :)
    Teaching Fabulous Firsties!

  2. Hi, Corinna,
    I stopped by earlier to see your blog - congratulations on your 100 followers!!


  3. Congrats on 100 followers and thanks for the freebie! I found your post through Classroom Freebies.

    Miss Allison’s Class

    1. Thanks, Miss Allison! Classroom Freebies is such an awesome place - tell your friends! :

  4. Replies
    1. You're welcome, Natalie! I didn't mention this in my post, but I also like the way this book helps reduce the bad habit of using labels like "the cafeteria lady"! :)

      Thanks so much for commenting!

  5. Thank you...we are just finishing school helpers, this fits is so nicely.


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